Interview: Low Island

Hot on the heels of Low Island’s biggest gig to date we had a chat with the band ahead of their Autumn tour. The Oxford four-piece just played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds festival and absolutely smashed it! Check out the video below. These boys are bound for big things and we’re delighted we could catch up with them before they change the world. No pressure lads…

TW: Hey Low Island, Describe your sound in 3 words.

Warped fuzzy pop

TW: Oxford’s generated some incredible music in the past?  What’s the best thing coming out of the city now?

Probably scientists or something. Musically, we think Cat God are pretty cool. 

TW: You’ve enjoyed success as dance producers / DJs as well as in a band.  What’s better – clubs or gigs? Does being a DJ prepare you for being in a band?

If you can bring the nonstop energy of a club to a live gig then there’s really nothing like it. That’s what we try to do in our live shows by fusing and stretching out songs. We’re quite flexible with our live setlist (as a DJ would be with track selection), so the main relevant skill we learnt as DJs would be “read the crowd”.

TW:  It’s been noted that there’s a lot of disparate influences in Low Island’s music, from Snarky Puppy to Grizzly Bear.  Who’s been your biggest influence to date? 

Lately, we’re really into a lot of US hip-hop artists like Kendrick (of course) and Vince Staples’ new album is class. 

TW: ‘That Kind of Love’ is a complex record.  How did it come about?  What was it like knowing you were BBC Introducing’s playlisted track on Radio1 in July this year?

Carlos wrote that song about a really difficult break up he went through last year. The song was actually born out of the weird synth loop that you hear at the beginning. It was pretty incredible hearing the track played out by so many different Radio 1 DJs; we’re very grateful to them and BBC Introducing for the props. We often heard it live on-air whilst driving in traffic, which was weird considering that the cars around us were probably listening to our weird track that existed solely in a bedroom studio only a few months ago. 

TW: What’s your favourite venue you’ve played and why?

We did this Low Island & Friends night at Electrowerkz back in April. We had this crazy circus of a night, with bands, electronic acts, a dance installation, visual art and DJs. We’ll be taking this to other cities (incl. two nights at Corsica Studios) this autumn. It was a really special night and that was largely thanks to the venue and the amazing acts we brought in. 

TW: Where do you like to go to find new music?

We’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of festivals this summer, which has exposed us to loads of great new artists.  

TW: What’s the best thing you’ve ever got for free?

A Logan Tivoli L dual manual organ. It was in an old people’s home that was mid-demolition so we rescued it and got it working again. 

TW: Outside of music who is your all-time hero?

Dennis Quaid

TW: What can people expect from your UK tour in Autumn?  How has Low Island’s live set developed since your Sebright debut last year?

We’re really excited about the Low Island & Friends autumn tour. We’ll be collaborating with a big variety of local artists for our shows in Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester and London. There will be dance, theatre, visual art, interactive visual environments and live coding music. Our live show has come on a long way since we launched last November. It’s much more full on and takes after the DJ set model of blending songs together. Also, we’ve written better songs since then. 

THANKYOU READING. You were fucking killing. @officialrandl @bbcintroducing #LIAF

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TW: If you won £1000 on a scratch card what would you spend it on?

Cases for our equipment…they are literally falling apart after all the shows we’ve done this year. 

TW: Apart from playing shows, what’s your favourite thing to do in Oxford?

Write music or swim in the Isis river. 

There you have it folks. Catch Low Island on their upcoming English tour starting in October. Secure your tickets right here, right now: ticketweb.co.uk/lowisland

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